Shayne Lee, Your Revolution Will Not Happen Between These Thighs: An Open Letter

19 Apr
Dear Shayne Lee,
In light of the recent publication of your book Erotic Revolutionaries and the venomous, malevolent, and vitriolic campaign that you have undertaken against our colleague and ally Tamura Lomax of The Feminist Wire in response to her forthcoming review of your work in the journal Palimpsest, we want to unequivocally affirm our support for her and our disappointment in you.

First, no man is a feminist who threatens a woman. Period. The fact that you found it reasonable to undermine and demean Tamura’s formidable mental prowess via text message, not only reflects an unhealthy sense of personal and professional boundaries on your part, but also a penchant for intellectual violence. And since you can’t model healthy communication practices in public, we don’t trust that you are prone to exercise them in private either. Do you always call women who disagree with you “idiots,” “mental midgets,” and “hacks”? Intellectual and discursive bullying is always egregious, but it is especially egregious for a Black man to do this to a Black woman, especially when that Black man claims to be advocating the cause of Black women.

The ability to engage in civil discourse, even when our opinions are diametrically opposed is one of the hallmarks of the academic enterprise. Because you are a tenured professor, we believe you know this. Rather than being merely a function of forgivable ignorance, your campaign of calumny against Dr. Lomax is calculated, intentional, troubling, and disgusting.  Moreover, the notion that you can in any way participate in laying out a sexually revolutionary agenda for young Black feminists when your private and professional choices employ attacks on women who want to engage in dialogue is beyond our comprehension.

Sending petty, threatening text messages to a colleague who critiques your work is not revolutionary. Making immature, obnoxious, ableist, and violent comments about colleagues on Facebook is not revolutionary. Being petulant and rude when folks check you on your foolishness is not revolutionary. Claiming to be a “revolutionary brotha” while threatening to violently silence a sister with a “smackdown” and a “well-deserved spanking” ain’t revolutionary.
There is a long and well-documented history of backlash against black feminist politics, including personal attacks against “second-wave” black feminists by Black men. The line-up includes Michele Wallace, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker (perhaps the most demonized), Angela Davis, bell hooks, and Anita Hill. As early as the 1830s, Maria Stewart, the first woman of any race to speak publicly about women’s rights, delivered a farewell speech to the black community, especially ministers, after a brief career on the lecture circuit. Deeply resentful, she argued, “let us no longer talk of prejudice, till prejudice becomes extinct at home. Let us no longer talk of opposition, til we cease to oppose our own. . . . Men of eminence have mostly risen from obscurity; nor will I, although a female of a darker hue, and far more obscure than they, bend my head or hang my harp upon willows.” The fact these words ring true today and in this situation speak to both the tenacity of a black feminist politic and its necessity.
There is also the equally predictable “trashing” of black women in favor of white women in your text, though we don’t recall such behavior from a self-defined “feminist” black male: “Where are the black counterparts to white scholars like Jane Gallop, Pepper Schwartz, Camille Paglia, and Katherine Frank who generate feminist theory as the driving force to advocate female pleasure and agency? Why are no African-American professors writing bold and sexy feminist texts like EROTIC Faculties by Joanne Frueh or PIN-UP GRRLS by Maria Elena Buszek?” This question has been answered by Evelynn Hammonds, Tricia Rose, and others. The privileging of white women’s sexual scholarship does not mean that black women have not done this work nor does it reflect the unique standpoints of black women in the academy who take more risks to do it. The work of Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Tricia Rose, Layli Phillips, Maria Stewart, Michele Wallace, Patricia Hill- Collins, Nikky Finney, bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara and new scholarship by younger black feminists who navigate the personal and political in online spaces, all challenge this assertion. The Black feminist agenda has never been merely a white feminist agenda in Blackface. So you want to “restore the proverbial clit” to its rightful place in Black sexual politics?” Well, last we checked, and most of us check often, our clits are right where they belong–at the center of our being, being engaged on our terms, not yours.
We, therefore, resent your attempt to put us on the defensive when it comes to pro-sex discourse, namely so that if we invoke our history of sexual oppression and question the very real costs of embracing popular notions/representations of the erotic, then we are dismissed as parochial gatekeepers and perpetuators of respectability. Clearly you don’t understand, suffering as you do from unchecked(Black) male privilege, that Black women’s positionality in the academy is complicated. Our pro-sex stance is often instilled in the very classrooms where we learn to think about why the histories of racism and sexism have given Black women’s sexuality such a negative rap in the first place. We don’t need more attacks about our sexual “dysfunction.”  We need allies, fellow scholars who are especially sensitive to the ways that white supremacy and male supremacy make the pro-sex framework advanced by white women an always difficult space for Black women to enter and inhabit. Then it might become apparent that we have simply created other spaces, ones not visible to folks who are unsafe. If the spaces are invisible to you, perhaps a whole lot of sisters peeped game at your penchant for verbal violence and deemed you unsafe for access.
So check it. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive review, largely because we are exhausted by your tired antics. We’ll leave that to our colleague, Dr. Lomax and others, who are so inclined. Just consider this as us putting you on notice, that we see you, and we’re exposing your actions so that we are not silenced again.As black feminists, we believe transformation is always possible and should you be open to being accountable for your behavior, you could do so in the following ways:
  1. Acknowledge publicly that you messed up- It would be really valuable for you to acknowledge publicly that threats and tactics of intimidation are not parts of feminist praxis.
  2. Apologize- It’s clear that you owe Dr. Lomax an apology for both the private messages you sent to her and the public attacks on her scholarship on your Facebook page.
  3. Amend- this includes but isn’t limited to taking down the negative Facebook comments and educating yourself about why they were in fact ableist and inapropriate.
  4. Action- Part of being accountable is working towards a new mode of engaging in the future. How will you behave differently should another black woman disagree with your scholarship publicly? What will you do to ensure that when other black male scholars act in a similar way that your lessons learned from this experience will be accessible for the transformation of that instance?

We will not be intellectually bullied into submission. We have officially given new meaning to the term “come correct,” and we suggest, brother, that you get it together. And here is one of our best examples of rescripting to date…

Shayne Lee, “your revolution will not happen between these thighs.

In Black Feminist Solidarity,

Brittney C. Cooper
Beverly Guy-Sheftall
Susana Morris
Moya Bailey
Ashon Crawley
Mark Anthony Neal
Aishah Shahidah Simmons
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Gwendolyn D. Pough
Rachel Raimist
Aida Hussen
Asha  French
Robin Boylorn
Sheri Davis-Faulkner
Whitney Peoples
Nuala Cabral
Chanel Craft
Salamishah Tillet
Yolo Akili
Kenyon Farrow
Robert J. Patterson
Eesha Pandit
Joan Morgan
David Ikard
Renina Jarmon
WAM! (Women, Action, and Media)

64 Responses to “Shayne Lee, Your Revolution Will Not Happen Between These Thighs: An Open Letter”

  1. Aaronni Miller April 19, 2011 at 3:42 PM #

    Just found your blog and after looking into the situation I am stunned at how this supposed “male” feminist responded. his reaction is equivalent to college frat boy calling a woman a “cunt” for not sleeping with him or demeaning herself to his glory. I thank you for calling out his obvious hypocrisy and I look forward to following your site.


  2. Danielle April 19, 2011 at 5:35 PM #

    I put my response on the feminist wire, Dr. Lomax’s article was great. I will say, I love how on point you guys are in your responses and critiques. And thanks for the awesome poetry at the end! Talk about crunk, I think ya’ll set it off. It was definitely called for.

  3. Sophia April 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM #

    Something similar happened to me before, though it stemmed from a personal relationship gone so so wrong between myself and another blackademic. He never got called out on his words and behavior- which devolved from personal attacks to attacking my career – and a fellow black woman who participated in that mess declared him a feminist-by-proxy. It’s still crazy to me that his colleagues, friends and family never questioned his actions, and it’s still crazy to me that this man is trusted by his peers – both men and women.

    Once again, the CFC and fellow feminists who wrote and signed onto this letter have inspired and moved me. Thank you for throwing down on behalf of Dr. Lomax, and thank you for reminding me that you badass academics and activists are ALWAYS going to throw down. Thank you for allowing me to listen, learn and heal.

  4. michael ralph April 19, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

    Thanks to all who contributed to this piece. It’s always a blessing when scholars work in concert to respond with urgency to a critical event, but it’s a rare pleasure to experience such a concise and yet thoughtful critique. I look forward to reading the review and rebuttal; but, like many others i am sure, this post provides instructive parameters for approaching the debate in the first place. For that, we are grateful.

  5. carrieleilamlove April 19, 2011 at 11:58 PM #

    NICE ONE!!

  6. Shayne Lee April 20, 2011 at 6:13 AM #

    What I find most interesting about this letter is that none of the brilliant minds who signed it contacted me to get my perspective before signing. Three of the signers were breaking bread with me a month earlier at Harvard as panelists in celebration of a great black feminist tome by Tracy Sharpley Whiting. These are people who have eaten with me, talked with me, laughed with me, lectured with me, and didn’t even call me first to get my perspective before signing a very public rebuke of me. Is that justice? Friendship?

    Tamura is very very skillful at being a victim. She’s saying I’m intimidating her but I only sent her that one text. We have not communicated since that one text. I never threatened her bodily, her career or anything other than that I would bring it hard in the response. If Tamura was so scared of me then why was she spending all day Monday morning attacking me on Facebook? That’s not something you do to someone if you’re intimidated and scared, is it? My friends were calling me reading me her feeds and they were quite lethal.

    Again, Tamura is someone I’ve known for 6 years. She’s someone who is my age and who I consider my co-equal. She’s someone who comes across as tough, strong, ready for a fight. I had no idea that she would go around acting like she’s scared of me. Again, this is someone who a few months ago was just asking her boy to put in a good word for her and I was like “damn straight I will cause you’re my girl.”

    Just a few months ago Tamura and I were at a conference laughing and joking together (American Academy of Religion). I introduced her to my brother and we were all laughing about our previous falling-out 4 years ago. Tamura let me use her cell phone to talk to my boy Illya Davis. Illya showed up and we now four of us were laughing and joking.

    Just a few months ago Tamura told me she was applying for Afam job in religion at Northwestern University and asked me to put in a good word for her if they contact me for advice about prospects. I told her sure, she was my girl, and I’d look out for her. So when Tracy Sharpley-Whiting showed me the first draft of her review, of course I was shocked because I was like, what happened to the love?

    I was shocked at her arrogant tone and mischaracterization of my work, especially since I was like “is this coming from my girl?” So I sent her a text (the infamous text) as someone who has history with her, who has known her for six years, as a co-equal, same age and as far as I’m concerned on the same level, with no intimidation in mind. I simply sent her the text to say, hey, I’m responding to your review and I saw a lot of mistakes so you really need to re-read my book and get it right or it’s not going to be pretty. If she had a problem with the text, why wasn’t she woman enough to respond to the text? Wasn’t this someone I was just laughing with only a few months ago. Wasn’t this someone who I had fierce debates in the past without her wilting? Wouldn’t a mature woman respond to someone she’s known since 2005 by saying “Shayne, are you trying to intimidate me?” That’s what a strong black woman does, she confronts her friend right there, and I would have called her and said of course I’m not trying to intimidate you, just warning you that I’m coming with it with my response, I’m bringing the heat. But Tamura never responded to me about the text, I found out secondhand when she was maligning me to all of her friends about it. Is that a strong black woman? Or is that a politically skillful woman who knows how to garner up quick support?

    That’s been my only contact with Tamura. One text. There were no mean phone messages, there were no more texts, no emails, no other contact but one text just to say (to a friend I’ve known for 6 years) hey, re-read my book because your review is not on point–it’s on baby, get it right, or my response is going to come with it. The text is something I would have sent irrespective of the scholar’s gender if I had a six-year history.

    The interesting thing is that Tamura is now quite skillful at playing the victim. She has manipulated you all into thinking that I’ve scared her. Anyone who knows Tamura really knows she can’t be intimidated, she is a truculent force, she has incredible willpower. So why is she the wilting flower now? Because this is how you get a community of feminists to back you and offer a hasty rebuke to the big bad black man. I’d expect this hasty reaction from other races, but not black feminist scholars!

    Back to the story. A month later (last Sunday) Tracy sent me the final version of the review. When I read the arrogant preachy tone of the review and saw it got worse from the rough draft Tracy showed me a month earlier, yes, I was livid. Not because I don’t accept critique, but because she’s preaching at me, she’s taking potshots, the tone seems really disrespectful. We’ve had our run-ins in the past with our disagreement about T.D. Jakes, but Tamura wasn’t ever this arrogant or disrespectful, downright dismissive of me before. So yes, I made some regretful comments on facebook but never mentioned her name or hinted at her identity. My friends saw me as venting against some unknown young scholar.

    The review wasn’t due to come out to a year so no one would have been able to connect the dots that my angry comments were aimed specifically at her. In fact, if you go to my facebook page, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting weighs in the status thread for the very purpose of letting peeps know that the person I was talking about was not a lowly grad student like my facebook friends who were criticizing me thought, hence proving no one (but Tracy) in the status feed had any idea about the review or the reviewer. Well after your blog started talking about getting the letter together, the journal’s publisher decided it would be prudent to publish her review and my response on line now, so that’s how it got out early. When I wrote the facebook comments I was under the impression that the journal wouldn’t come out if not months than a year later and hence no one would know who I was venting against in my status feed.

    So I think the black feminist community’s response is egregiously disproportionate to what happened. I never threatened her physically, never intimidated her, just warned a person who I’ve known for 6 years that since she’s taking me on she better come with it because we’re gonna go at it in print. This is something two capable adults can do without kid gloves, since we’re both formidable opponents.

    Is this a good look for feminists to coddle someone who has faced no imminent threat from a fellow scholar? Is this a good look for feminists to sign a hostile letter against me without getting my perspective first? Many of you criticized me for my hostile comments and for alleged intimidation—well all I did was send a text and write comments about an anonymous scholar that no one knew was her. Compare that with how the black feminist scholars came down on me! If that’s not intimidation what is? Where’s the sense of justice and fairness that has always informed black feminist activism? You all were so worried about poor Tamura being intimidated by a male scholar, that you didn’t even consider a male scholar could be intimidated by having 20 scholars gang up against him. Am I that tough that it’s okay to treat me without kid gloves but when I do the same, treat Tamura like my tough co-equal, I’m the big bad wolf who needs 20 scholars to reign justice upon him?

    In closing, Tamura takes a lot of swings, she’s a tough woman who can fight for herself, who takes no shit from no one. When we debated in the past we debated as co-equals going toe-to-toe and I deeply respected her for that. I’ve always treated her as a formidable force even when she was my friend and even when she was my foe. So I’m shocked that a woman my age, who I just laughed and joked and introduced to my brother, would portray me as the big bad wolf and her as the damsel in distress. She really has a career in politics because that is some skillful branding work accomplished the past few days.

    You can’t have it both ways. If Tamura is a damsel in distress then she can’t be attacking me on facebook and in reviews from a vantage point of strength. She can’t be both the harmless victim and the aggressor. I can’t be so big and bad that you need an army to come at me without any attempt to engage me or get my perspective.

    Yesterday was a bad day for black feminist thought. You made black women look weak and defenseless. Your reference to the revolution not happening between your thighs was petty and reactionary. You say I owe an apology, I think you owe me one as well because you never gained my perspective, you assumed the woman was judge and jury.

    • Yolo April 20, 2011 at 9:41 AM #

      Hi Shayne,

      My name is Yolo Akili and I read your response and your perspective. I wanted to take some time to reply to some of your statements. I do so in the hopes to create some understanding. I know that this is a difficult situation for all involved, yet I want to reply to you in the possibility that this situation can be a learning experience for all of us. I have a few things i want to share:

      1. We are not publicly rebuking you. We are rebuking your actions and your choices. There is a difference.

      2. Justice and friendship require accountability. Accountability calls for us to speak clearly to those who have done things that have had hurtful impact on others. Without accountability, there can be no transformation. Accountability means owning up to the impact our actions have had on others, even if that impact was NOT the intention and working to make amends. This is the ultimate call of this letter to you Shayne. It is not an attempt to attack you; but an invitation for you to self reflect, acknowledge how your actions were received,query your own choices and show us all that black male feminists do not blame, minimize or deny the impact of their actions, but instead listen, learn and work to do differently in the future.

      I can tell you as a black male feminist, I too have been called out on my own behavior. And like you have done in this letter, I have denied the impact of my actions.

      But i want you to realize Shayne: You can’t tell anyone how they received or were impacted by what you did. Each of us is affected differently by different things. Can you not see that Dr.Lomax was frightened and intimidated by your behavior? Or do you choose to not even see that as a possibility? And if you cannot sit with that as even a possibility, what does that say about you? Do you understand that this does not make you a “bad” person, but instead a person who made a a “bad” choice?

      I also see in your letter Shayne, so much of me. Especially the way you speak of the academic enviroment like it’s a wrestling match. Words like “smack down” and “gang up” sound more like WWF than black feminism to me.
      You see, in my understanding black feminist debate,theory and analysis is not about an ideological battle to prove who is right or who is wrong. Black Feminist work is to create and facilitate understanding, education and learning. Sometimes, yes, in our critical academic voices this can come off harsh and it can be hurtful. If you were hurt by the review then i want you to sit with that,say that, as opposed to looking for the next route to attack Dr.Lomax from your own hurt. I know what that’s like Shayne. I’ve done that before and it’s a pointless endeavor. If you have challenges with the critique, than respond respectfully. Refute. Not attack. There is enough violence between black women and black men Shayne, we don’t need to create anymore. You are a scholar who knows that, i know you do.

      In closing, let me tell you Shayne, that no, yesterday was not a bad day for Black Feminism. And no Shayne, we did not “make black women look weak and defenseless.” Yesterday was an act of retribution. It was a call to solidarity. It was a ecstatic moment where black feminists came together and offered a brother the most loving and accountable critique we could in the context of our rage and our hurt. It was a moment where black community came together and heard the voice of a black woman and instead of dismissing her voice we heard her and we stood with her to say “no more”.

      Today can be great moment for black feminism too Shayne. It could be a moment where you, a black male scholar, openly admitted to making a choice that was painful, hurtful and frightening to a black woman scholar you consider a colleague. You could show black men everywhere, that sometimes, we do things and we don’t realize how they hurt others and when we do those things we own up and we make amends. You could help us all see that this is not only what makes a man, but a black feminist man. This could be a great day for Black Male Feminists and black feminism Shayne. The choice as always,is yours.

      As your brother.
      In love, peace and solidarity always,

      • Shayne Lee April 20, 2011 at 10:19 AM #

        None of you have publicly confronted Tamura for her bullying tactics against me. Did you see her verbal blitzkrieg against me on facebook? Where’s the retribution for that. She attacked me with reckless abandon in multiple status feeds. It was ugly and none of you so-called feminists publicly reprimanded her. Does that sound like someone who is afraid??? If you’re afraid and intimidated do you go on facebook and attack them with multiple egregious insults??

        Yesterday was gangsta, not retribution. You guys treated me far worse than anything I did to Tamura.Except your gang of feminists has enough sanctimony to excuse your bullying of me while condemning my so-called bullying of Tamura. It was a bad day for black women. You all looked so emotional, petty, reactionary. You supported every stereotype about black women in one day.

    • Danielle April 20, 2011 at 11:51 AM #

      From an outsider point of view, quite frankly you just look hurt. Reading the letter and the critique, I didn’t get the sense that you were some big black bad boogie man. I got the sense that you crossed the boundaries of comfort in your text to Dr. Lomax about the review and as a result, her friends supported her both personally and academically. You keep mentioning facebook, but if you never mentioned her by name, how did all these women know you were referring to Dr. Lomax? I don’t think these women would lie about the references to needing a spanking or anything like that either, nor do you deny it.

      Right now its sad seeing an educated, forward thinking black male behave this way over a bruised ego, bruised in part by black women (correctly in my opinion) which I suppose makes it worse. You are entitled to your own opinion about your work, someone liked it enough to publish it, but Dr. Lomax is entitled to hers. As a professor and an academic, you should not write if you are not willing to accept criticism. Dr. Lomax pointed out some things that seem to be missing from your self proclaimed black feminist position. There is nothing wrong with pointing that out. Words may have been parsed and boundaries crossed (in your opinion, on both sides) but just because you dislike someone’s opinion on your work does not give you the right to bully them.

      At the end of the day, your saying that this was a bad day for feminism and that all of us who agree with Dr. Lomax are petty and reactionary and therefore, validating black female stereotypes is out of line. A black male feminist would not say these things. As someone with no emotional investment in this whatsoever, I resent the implication that you think the wild animal that resides in the stereotypical black woman would be what causes me to react this way. Your work deserved the critique. Now please try to salvage what bit of your dignity you have left and listen to some of these responses. As black feminists, I’d like to think we can all learn from one another in some way.

    • lala April 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM #

      I’m glad to hear your response…wow, thank you for some context. They owe you an apology because the lynch mob was not necessary.

      • crunktastic April 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM #

        The invocation of the term ‘lynch mob’ is highly offensive to all the black men, women, and children who actually did lose their lives after committing no offenses whatsoever. But then Clarence Thomas also invoked the term ‘ lynching’ when he was called on his sexual b.s. I guess that’s one of the tactics that educated brothas and their groupies invoke when called on legitimately offensive behavior.

      • Shayne Lee April 21, 2011 at 11:04 AM #

        Wow! lala, thank you so much. I was wondering how any rational person who read my response could not conclude the lynch mob was not necessary.

        Again, Tamara is a woman my age who has known me for 6 years. We met 6 years ago at a conference when I was talking to a friend about being a feminist. She jumped into the convo and told me that a man can’t be a feminist. We then went at it laughing and debating for an hour over whether or not I was a feminist. At the end of our convo, i was like, wow, she’s tough, I like her. This was 6 years ago!

        This has always characterized my relationship with her. I don’t treat her on any woman with kid gloves so I can’t possibly understand how one text telling her to get her review in line because my response is going to blow hers away, is in any way a an act of violence to her. Most women I know would have replied, “bring it on brotha!”

        I don’t understand how feminists on this blog are still backing her after they read my response. She is no victim. I think rational peeps who read my response understand at the very least that I was no bully, that this involved two scholars who know each other going toe-to-toe. Everyone acts as if I’m the powerful one. She’s the one who got a score of feminists to back her in one day. I could never pull that off.

        Do black women like looking so weak as if they need special coddling? I don’t know any man on the planet who would respond to my text by crying “help me, I’m being attacked.” It’s such a weak look. The people who signed the letter look really petty and they make women look like helpless kittens.

        At this point now I’m laughing at all these people who signed it. They’ve lost all credibility.

    • Shayne Lee April 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM #
      Here’s the link to both reviews

    • schadenfreude May 28, 2011 at 2:06 PM #

      Let me make clear from the outset that I have read neither Shayne Lee’s book nor the review of it. I don’t have to. Having experienced firsthand Shayne’s inability to deal with disagreement, his shocking emotional immaturity, tendency toward verbal aggression and bullying, obsessiveness, desire to control women’s behavior, and lack of empathy, I am not surprised in the least by this turn of events. Shane, reap what thou hast sown.

  7. jalylah April 20, 2011 at 7:15 AM #

    “…no man is a feminist who threatens a woman.”


    Thank you family for alerting me and the wider community to this distressing course of events and the ostensibly frail and opportunistic attempt at Black Feminist analysis (no doubt put into starker relief by the comment above) that set them in motion.

    “As black feminists, we believe transformation is always possible…”

    ^^^^ Yes. That you provided some steps toward accepting accountability and new modes of engagement is generous. A generosity endemic to our community for the greater good but which ultimately can exhaust. This isn’t to say that I discourage this work but I think its important to acknowledge its labor, your labor.

    • lala April 20, 2011 at 10:43 PM #

      I think another “tactic” is collectively gathering to silence a person, what did Audre Lorde say about the Master’s tools?

      • crunktastic April 20, 2011 at 10:46 PM #

        I feel comfortable in saying that Audre Lorde would be rolling over in her grave if she knew her words were being invoked to defend anyone who had done something this egregious to a sister.

  8. shiftersseries April 20, 2011 at 8:30 AM #

    First of all, this is a beautiful, thoughtful response that speaks to the ways that true “crunk” feminism requires a constant grappling with one’s personal subject position vis-a-vis not only institutions but individuals and the ways that one’s subjectivity is constantly in flux, so that we can be at the same time oppressed and actively oppressing.
    There is no point in the evolution of a feminist, a scholar, a human being, where we can say, “that’s it, I have it all figured out. I have evolved and become this thing.” The process is constant. It does not and can not end.
    Dr. Lee, with all due respect, nothing that you have written here has helped your cause. It, unfortunately, has merely demonstrated your propensity towards the very foibles of which you stand accused. I hope that you will be able to return to this letter at a later time, and that it can spark a transformational process for you as you continue to grow as a feminist.
    CFC, I read and enjoy your blog. You all make me proud to know you, and to have known many of you in the beginning. Let me know if you need me to call on the I. T. 😉

  9. Sister Toldja April 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM #

    ” or it’s not going to be pretty”

    The brother closed his own case with that one.

    • YC April 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM #

      That’s exactly what I thought, Sister Toldja. Shayne Lee’s own responses to this letter have validated Lomax’s experience better than we ever could. He responds to a loving, challenging critique from the Black feminist community with yet more sexist bullying and insults.

      But ultimately, he’s a man who wants to have a friendship with a woman without honesty or accountability. And there is nothing feminist about that.

  10. Julia April 20, 2011 at 10:15 AM #

    Love. Peace. Hope. Reading Shayne’s response really made me sad. I started off very angry by the premise of the book and what I heard of Shayne’s actions that followed. Now, I have more compassion. And only a prayer to offer us all in response to Shayne…

    May we listen when our friends correct us softly
    May we humble ourselves as their voices rise in solidarity
    Because this is what it looks like
    to plug up your ears
    stomp your feet and continue on your course alone

    May we learn the practice and tools of love
    May we refuse to fight at home
    Because this is what it looks like
    to start a war
    and refuse to choose peace because all we see is attack

    May we honor the ancestors whose banner we claim
    May we listen, at least, in their names
    Because this is what it looks like
    to pull up our own roots
    and go it all alone convinced of our righteousness

    When all around – elders, ancestors and friends – continue to point out our error

  11. Dr Herukhuti April 20, 2011 at 11:44 AM #

    It is deep to me, the timing of things, the simultaneity of certain events. Just as I became aware of this discussion, I was and am in the midst of reading L. H. Stallings’ book Mutha Is Half a Word: Intersections of Folklore, Vernacular, Myth, and Queerness in Black Female Culture (2007, Ohio State University Press). Admittedly, I have not read ER and, honestly, don’t care to do so. Brother Lee had me at Beyonce in conceptualizing radical, sex-positive Black women’s subjectivity and that’s just a bridge too far for this anti-commodification of black bodies and pro-soulful music, sexology scholar-activist.

    So my comments here are very poorly informed regarding ER. BTW, I started using the term erotic revolutionaries over the last two years to describe people who would begin to go out in the world and introduce conservatives and other reactionaries to the power of the erotic and orgasm through erotic contact as a way to be the change we want to see in the world in a transformative education and social change framework.

    Having admitted to my lack of knowledge on the ER book, I will say that if people want to read a book that challenges the politics of respectability in (black feminist) academic contexts and looks at discourses on sex-positive, if not sex radical, black women’s subjectivities, then read Mutha is Half a Word. It is precisely because Stallings knows and can read black feminist scholarship, sufficiently organizes its genealogies, and constructs a framework for thoughtfully, soulfully, funkfully engaging the topic (in ways that challenge the sexism, heterosexism, and racism/colorism inherent in formenist works) that makes the work a much more rewarding project. And so I sit here wondering how much attention (good, bad, and indifferent) Brother Lee is getting and how much attention Stallings has received FUBU (from us, by us) for her work.

    Yes, I see the unexamined (as in lacking in critical self-reflection) macho bravado of a black male scholar who grew up in the hip hop era and tried to marry hip hop swag with the “genteel” nature of Western academic socialization in the initial phone text and responses on here. And I do believe in folks making collective statements of support, love, and concern (even when some of those folks had tea with the person they critique or bigged up the person’s book in their spheres of influence). But I’ve lived in black families and communities in which sexism, heterosexism, and patriarchy operates in ways that allow us to privilege men, even when they are being “bad boys,” “thugs,” or “trifling” through our attention while we ignore, marginalize, or render invisible the women and others who are doing the work we would want to see. No binary or dichotomizing here.

    We can critique problematic behavior (the flaws and failings of the book ER, the lack of critical self-reflection in the text messages, etc.) and embrace and show appreciation for what we want to support and nurture (purchase, read, review, and recommend Mutha Is Half a Word by L. H. Stallings

  12. MOVIE, REVIEWED April 20, 2011 at 9:02 PM #

    I don’t know either one of these people.

    However, based on reading the Crunk Manifesto, Dr Lee’s response and Dr. Lomax’ review of Dr. Lee’s book that started it all, I have a theory of what happened.

    These two professors have a history of some sort together. Dr. Lee got mad when he read Dr. Lomax review (which was less a criticism of his work than it was a criticism of HIM) and he wrote a sharply worded response.

    When Dr. Lomax read Dr. Lee’s response, instead of just answering him back and having a one-on-one argument, she called all her academic friends, presented him as some evil monster and they concocted this whole manifesto condemning him.

    This seems like a cheap shot against Dr. Lee.

    This also makes Dr. Lomax look like a scared weak child who can’t stand up for herself in the adult professional world.

    Also, in a country that just loves to present all Black men as savage brutes just one step away from going on a Bigger Thomas crime spree, is it really a good idea for Black women academics to tar one of our brothers with that brush?

    • crunktastic April 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM #

      As for your theory, you have arrived at it after a supposed “objective” consideration of the evidence. Since you believe it, trying to refute it directly would prove futile. So I’ll simply attend to your last point, RE: Bigger Thomas.

      Let’s remember that Richard Wright, a Black man, wrote the character of Bigger Thomas. Black women did not create this representation of the brute Black man. Nor have we uniquely, if at all, perpetuated it. As hyperbolic as Bigger is, even Wright was willing to acknowledge that racism and sexism, if left unchecked and unhealed can create particular Black masculine pathologies, particular tendencies toward violence. Remember as well, that before Bigger killed the white girl, he killed a Black one, which is just more evidence that Black women are especially vulnerable in the face of Black men’s misguided rage. So rather than asking what responsibilities Black women have to Black men, perhaps brother, you should ask what responsibilities Black men have to Black women, especially when the Black man in question is tenured and has three books, and the sister in question is just starting out in the game. If she’s so weak as you say, why react as though she’s so threatening?

  13. KMS April 21, 2011 at 1:13 AM #

    bravo, y’all! that lee has responded in such a petulant and dismissive way only undermines the point that he really needs to take a serious look at the way he thinks about black women and what our ‘role’ is/should be because his response is about as far away from feminism as it gets. i’m old enough to remember the joyce joyce/skip gates-houston baker debacle regarding the ‘canon’ and lit crit. sadly, no one came to her defense publicly [tho to be fair, she tried to give as good as she got tho she was’ganged up’ on by the ‘pre-eminent’ scholars of the day] no one even called for a really serious look at how the conversation had turned into personal [and scurrilous] attacks and as such had veered off-course, was pointless and tragic. those of you who offered this letter as a pointed reminder of the significance of self-awareness, maturity and real responsibility, of ACTUAL feminist ideology, have my deepest respect. that you all are supporting each other inside the academy is a blessing, one that i hope lee will see as his as well. i wish i had had the support of thinkers and activists and scholars like yourselves when i was on that road…much love, a deep bow and an upraised fist to you all.

  14. Facebook Friend April 21, 2011 at 8:13 AM #

    Thank you all so much for writing this much needed response. What I have learned more than anything from following these developments over the past few days is that we need to listen to each other if we’re going to hear anything. Defensiveness and personal attacks don’t help us develop our critical thoughts about vital issues in politics and representation. I do wish Shayne Lee could learn to listen. His current facebook status reads, “takes 7 mc’s put em in a line. And add seven more haters who think they can rhyme. Well, it’ll take 7 more before I go for mine, now that’s 21 Crunk Feminists ate up at the same time. Write another letter, baby. I’m still standing.” This is not the sentiment of a man at the table for a conversation, and that is exceedingly unfortunate. At this point, I don’t know how to hear him, lost in his arrogance and faux swagger. I’ll continue the conversations with the rest of you.

    • Realist April 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM #

      Rather than pushing for relevant social change, this conversation has turned into a finger wagging – he said/ she said – diatribe. When attempting to adjudicate on this matter, there must be nuance. In light of Mr. Lee’s relationship with Mrs. Lomax, can his text pasted below be seen as an issue of misogyny?

      “I strongly suggest u read the book carefully to rewrite the review. My response will expose each and every hole. . . . It won’t be pretty, I can promise u that. It’s obvious no one taught u the format of good book review. I hope u learn it fast bc my response will indicate your gross flaws.”

      Can we aptly assume he wouldn’t send this text to a man? Its evident Mr. Lee may not be the most tactful or genteel individual, yet to turn this into a fully fledged attack and public tarring is puerile at best.
      What does it say about the spirit of equality and feminism, that this debate has become verbal pugilism rather than engaged humanitarians debating the best way to rid our society of hegemony?

      • Really real April 21, 2011 at 4:23 PM #

        Read all of it… His book, her review, his response, his posts on his facebook wall (oh wait he deleted ir because its so sexist and offensive), read the crunk letter…

        This is BEYOND he said/she said! He put his ideas out in a book, got mad after disliking a review, responded academically and then went off in attack mode on the reviewer (instead of just on her ideas) and girl did not cry for help. Folks saw the facebook wall and organized a response.

        Feminism has always been a play btwn the individual and the collective… We see that alive and well here.

        So REALIST, how do you propose dealing with sexism and hegemony? My ears are open.

  15. Realist April 21, 2011 at 11:29 PM #

    I read all that you mentioned aside from the book(ER) and blog posts. To have an opinion on this matter, those are hardly neccesary. “Really real” I understand your greviences and would posit that feminism as the “individual vs the collective” is a blanket statement that lacks the granularity inherent in this situation. Implicit in your statement is that a scholar writing a book on feminisim albeit tangentially is misogynistic.

    To confront your last point, I believe the aproppos discussion should center the review and the response to said review. A cogent understanding of both pieces would enlighten men like myself with an interest in confronting hegemony.

    Again to be frank, an ad hominem tinged fusillade leaves nothing but bitter residue. Yet an enlightening discussion provides food for critical thought.

    Please expound on your thoughts, when you can.

  16. Myra Washington April 21, 2011 at 11:35 PM #

    I read the initial post yesterday morning, and got around to coming back tonight so I too could sign my name in solidarity and encourage others to sign their names as well, and I just read the comments and… uh… just…

    I have to wonder, on a human level – beyond academe, beyond ego, beyond “proper” book reviews, beyond who is having tea and scones with whom, beyond folks who write an open letter wishing that we all do better, beyond people behaving badly, and beyond their apologists – if we are friends (or at least people who know each other), why can’t there just be an apology sans qualifications? Where is the “I’m sorry” or even a “while not my intent, I have clearly hurt you friend, my bad”?

  17. lala April 22, 2011 at 12:37 AM #

    Lol, how many dead people do you “speak for”? This is why young women such as myself don’t go for the “feminist” label. You guys come off as a nutty cult.

    • Shayne Lee April 22, 2011 at 11:34 AM #

      lala, I don’t know who you are but you’re my new she-ro. I’m absolutely shocked at the irrationality demonstrated in many of these posts. Complete intellectual dishonesty. It’s as if they didn’t read my response. I must assume they skimmed it because some of their responses to my response are perplexingly obtuse! Don’t worry lala, there are rational feminists out there, but unfortunately not in this blog post.

      • z.bediako April 22, 2011 at 12:05 PM #

        Actually, most of the the black feminist/womanists discussed in the post are alive and well, producing work, and deep in the struggle — hooks, Rose, Collins, Shange, Davis. I mean, come on! Do you even know who these Black feminist are. If not, I recommend the Womanist reader – by Lalyi Phillips. Anyway, Audre and Maria Stewart may have passed away, but they left us with so much to keep alive. IT IS OUR DUTY to keep them alive, in our works, our lives, and spirits. Simply because a person has passed away doesn’t mean their contributions have. Lala, it is disrespectful for you to refer to our mothers in the movement as ‘dead people’.

        To be honest, I don’t know who you are (Shayne Lee), and as an avid reader of the CFC blog, I just happened to find out about what has happened. I felt I had an objective perspective, and didn’t aim to choose a side. Now that I have read your reply to someone who has called this powerful collection of black feminist, ” a nutty cult” I see that you do not stand with the Black femist struggle. I see that you are not an ally. I see that instead of learning from this entire situation, you’ve chosen to chose the side of someone who isn’t even familiar with Black feminist politics. Your new she-ro is lala!! How unfortunate.

        I believe in healing.
        I believe in learning from our mistakes.
        I believe in the power of perspective.

        Make this better by building a bridge as CFC have done instead of burning them down due to being hurt.

        Peace to You


      • myra April 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM #

        so does that mean you won’t be extending an apology?

      • Sad and disappointed April 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM #

        Shayne Lee…

        After reading your response to this letter that seems to be written in an attempt to offer advice and provide a space for healing reconciliation to occur, I have to say that I am saddened. Every single post you have written in response to the letter has basically proved everything the letter writers said. You have shown us your unwillingness to listen to differing points of view, your insulting and belittling personality… All of this makes me wonder if you have any friends or even ex-friends, because surely a friend would have pulled you aside by now and told you that you aren’t doing anything to help your cause. In fact since you have posted more feminists have added their names and support… based on your actions here. I’m not your friend and I don’t know you from Adam, but I feel like someone should advise you to go somewhere, sit, think, reflect on what these letter writers have tried to tell you. If you keep on down this path it is really only making you look bad… Now, based on the fact that you don’t seem to be open to listening to anyone, I realize that I am more than likely wasting my time, but I figured I would offer…

        In the words of Jean Grae… either you’re slow or you’re stuck either way best of luck…

      • Tealeaves April 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM #

        I find your responses over this past week most unfortunate. I have read your book, the reviews, and naturally this open letter. I don’t believe you realize how deeply troubling your work is (forget about the fb posts and the text). You want to dismiss a review because it uses a text that you sent about a text your wrote. The text message is a text (you will have to concede this fact as we all begin to work with new media in our research). You have been on blogs, in interviews (I tuned into your especially scurrilous, overly long and tedious one this morning) saying you are a prince of third wave feminism. Indeed, on that very radio show, there is link for another interview with you entitled just that–Shayne Lee, Prince of Third Wave Feminism. Your fallback position is that sociology journals don’t do this, scholarly journals don’t do that (with that remark you level an attack at the journal and its editorial board who allowed you to respond in the same issue! Have you no shame, Shayne?) This was no purely sociological book! And you are obviously not familiar with academic journals where debates about reviews, etc play out all of the time (some searing and incendiary), including in sociology. I am old enough to remember the debates about reviews in historical sociology between Wallerstein and a Latin-Americanist scholar–visceral, cutting, etc; those in Social Text, New Literary History, the Times Review of Books; the list goes on, dear boy. You frankly sound incredibly naive, petulant and not especially well-mentored. Indeed, you are becoming the Chris Brown of the Academy. You are frankly the one acting weak, like a kitten in need of protection. And that saddens me.

        Intellectual exchange can get messy. You’ve made it more so with your use of the new media on top of your problematic book. You have a right though to write a problematic book. And the reviewer has a right to her opinion of that work, including bringing in contexts for understanding why you wrote it and what you’ve written before. You take cheap shots at feminists throughout the work. Yet, you howl at the rafters when Dr. Lomax questions why in this day and age a black man who has no history of organizing for women, with women, believes he can preach to women about their sexual liberation and the wonders of pop culture icons. Really?

        Interestingly, I was one of the feminist scholars you mailed the book to this summer. I chose to ignore it for a number of reasons as did MOST of my colleagues. You wrote it and mailed it off because you wanted engagement, a stage (the reviewer is not totally wrong on that score, if you were to be honest with yourself–lie to everyone else but not to yourself); but you wanted that engagement on your terms. You cannot dictate reviews, content or form. And review essays are not 500 word reviews. I have looked over the Palimpsest journal and its mission. It is interdisciplinary and transnational. Its reviewers will come from a number of fields, I imagine, including feminist studies. You chose to enter into that field and seemed ill-equipped to handle yourself on that terrain.

        Now you want to claim that you were thinking about your career when you flew off the handle in the text and on fb. Who the hell let’s one review dictate the trajectory of their academic career? Don’t be so thin-skinned. We have all received that “mean review that totally misunderstood our work” from our perspective anyway. And you should have been thinking about your career when you wrote that book. THAT BOOK will NOT move you to the next level. You will need a much more serious piece of scholarship to do that heavy lifting. You have done yourself serious damage in terms of credibility across fields (the book and your subsequent behavior). You’ve insulted scholarly women and men, a journal and its editorial board, and a host of others committed to gender and women’s issues. It doesn’t matter what people say to you privately. If you hadn’t noticed no one (at least not the people who you think are important and I have been in conversations with them) is willing to stand with you publicly. And I suspect that you are misreading and misrepresenting their tolerance for your ranting as tacit support; when in fact, they’d like for you to apologize and get back to your scholarship. Think about doing that, will you?

  18. ashoncrawley April 22, 2011 at 2:22 PM #


    well damn. [because i’m a sometime-y pentecostal], i’ll begin the offering line with $50 … you preached it … that is all.

    • Evie April 25, 2011 at 8:37 AM #

      Hells. Yeah. I’m right behind you with another $50. Dr. Lee has responded so poorly to this–like an entitled child. I read through these comments, and it’s his responses that really brought it home for me. To respond in such a manner–perhaps both Lomax and Lee need to engage in self-reflection, but Dr. Lee–sit with yourself and consider your responses. You don’t have to be honest with anyone but yourself.

  19. Sister Toldya April 22, 2011 at 2:28 PM #

    I can’t agree with Tealeaves more. Whatever Lee may think, this little foray has ensured that his publishing career will stall, and the invitations dwindle. Those who engage in bad Academic bad behavior are talked about and shunned far longer than the normal news cycle. And Since Lee is I hear, moving to University of Houston, perhaps someone should pass along the conversation to his new/former colleagues. They might get a kick out of all of this (not.)

    • Gregory A. Butler April 22, 2011 at 11:03 PM #

      Dr Lomax is the one that engaged in bad behavior. She wrote a cheap shot review instead of honestly engaging Dr Lee’s ideas. To compound that, when Dr Lee called Dr Lomax on her bullshit, instead of standing on her own two feet like an adult and fighting her own battles, she ran to get a whole posse to fight her battles for her.

      I’m sure the broader academic community will understand Dr Lee’s consternation with this cheap shot and will see Dr Lomax for the deeply immature person that she is. If anybody’s career suffers, it will be hers, not his.

      • Professor Tracey April 23, 2011 at 11:46 AM #


        A few things are clear from your post – One, you are not an academic. Two, you have not read Dr. Lee’s book. Three, you clearly have no idea how debate and critique works in the academy. Four, you clearly have extremely limited knowledge of black feminist scholarship and history. Five, you definitely have a problem with black women standing up for one another.

        As an academic PROFESSIONAL you do not send text messages to your colleagues with insults and threats. PERIOD! End of discussion. Doesn’t matter if it was one text or two hundred. It doesn’t matter if you were mad or upset. It doesn’t matter what the relationship was or is, it doesn’t matter what the context is.

        There was nothing “cheap” about Dr. Lomax’s review. It was a negative review. PERIOD. Dr. Lee was given the opportunity to respond to the review. That’s fair and that’s how the scholarly game plays out in the academy. This standard practice has risen to another dramatic level due to Dr. Lee’s clear expectation of a fawning, softball review from a colleague he knew. He didn’t get it and he lashed out. He can make all the excuses and explanations that he desires, it doesn’t change the original sin.

        And quite frankly, Dr. Lomax doesn’t have to defend herself or her ideas. Her review is out there, you either agree with it or you don’t. You clearly need to re-read the letter posted her. The individuals that signed this letter are clearly disturbed by the lack of professionalism, the failure to engage in positive discourse, and the lack of credit given to black feminists in the academy. This letter served as a golden opportunity for Dr. Lee to engage his colleagues and the public in a productive discussion, instead he has doubled down on the negative instead.

        And you truly do fail to understand one very important thing here. This is not about fighting for Dr. Lomax. In reading Dr. Lee’s responses to this letter, it’s clear to me that ANY black woman that wrote a negative review of his book would have experienced his wrath, so it’s not about standing up for Dr. Lomax, it’s about standing up for any sister in the academy that is unfairly attacked for the simple act of expressing her opinion.

      • Gregory A. Butler April 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM #

        Professor Tracey,

        You seem to be missing the point.

        Also, you seem very insecure in your status as a college professor. I felt no need to talk about what I do for a living, you have to broadcast your job status.

        That says a whole lot about you and your status insecurities.

        As for the matter at hand, I read Dr Lomax review and noted that the lead paragraph was basically a cheap shot at Dr Lee. It didn’t read like a serious book review. Instead it was an attack on Dr Lee which had nothing to do with his work

        According to Dr Lee’s account, he took Dr Lomax’ attack very personally because he thought she was a friend.

        So, as betrayed friends often do (even betrayed friends who are PROFESSORS) he sent her some angry messages.

        In my view he had a right to be angry. He was blindsided by a friend. I’m sure he would have been just as vocally angry if Dr Lomax was a male friend.

        As for the pile on against Dr Lee, that’s even worse.

        Perhaps Dr Lomax had some sort of personal reason to be mad at Dr Lee. However, that does not justify the conduct of all the other folks who are jumping on this brother.

        Bottom line, Dr Lee is a Black man with an opinion who dared to disagree with a woman – apparently, that’s a crime now.

  20. vicky April 22, 2011 at 6:26 PM #

    A great review on Shayne Lee’s work by Mark Anthony Neal:

    • Dr Herukhuti April 24, 2011 at 5:31 AM #

      (Re)view or (inter)view or (intra)view? Vicky, did you choose this clip because Mark Anthony Neal both conducted the interview and signed the Open Letter?

  21. Observer April 22, 2011 at 11:26 PM #

    Please, for the ignorant among us, can someone clearly explain how Shayne threatened Tamura?

    • Tracy versus Tracey April 23, 2011 at 1:36 PM #

      As a colleague of Professor Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, the Palimpsest journal editor to whom Professor Lee refers, I wanted to clarify that this is not her but a different Professor Tracey.

      • Observer April 24, 2011 at 1:50 PM #

        After I posted my question, I re-read the open letter and noted this line: “Claiming to be a “revolutionary brotha” while threatening to violently silence a sister with a “smackdown” and a “well-deserved spanking” ain’t revolutionary.

        If Lee really did say that – especially the latter comment – he does need to apologize. A “well deserved spanking”? Really? Putting aside the thinly-veiled sexual and sexist undertones.. well, no, let us not put them aside. This is just a mess all around.

      • Professor Tracey May 18, 2011 at 12:54 AM #

        Thank you for clarifying that there is more than one Tracey, Traci, or Tracy in the world….

        Not quite sure why you felt the need to have made this clarification…

    • Gregory A. Butler April 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM #

      Apparently he “threatened” her by sending her an angry email after she wrote a review slamming his new book.

      The email itself contained no threats in the conventional sense that you or I would use that word – however, to this group, any time a man disagrees with a woman and expresses any kind of anger at her actions, it’s a “threat” (even when it really isn’t)

      • Professor Tracey May 18, 2011 at 12:58 AM #

        I didn’t broadcast what I do for a living, I clearly made the point that you are lecturing folks about their actions without understanding what they do and how they operate.

        You seem to have a lot of personalized comments about a situation and people you don’t know. You are welcome to your opinion, but it doesn’t mean you are correct either.

  22. Gabriel Peoples April 23, 2011 at 5:51 PM #

    I’m in solidarity with those who composed this thoughtful open letter. Had so much to say that’s already been said. SMH

  23. k April 24, 2011 at 2:53 AM #

    WOW, Shayne Lee, your responses are enlightening indeed… but not in the way you probably intended. Sad to see that a grown adult has such trouble dealing with a single negative review. That is quite the hole you’re digging yourself into, there.

  24. Janelle Flemming April 24, 2011 at 6:16 AM #

    Thank you, Shayne, for *finally* making clear “what a strong Black woman does”.

  25. Agleska April 24, 2011 at 9:44 AM #

    Thank you to the feminists who are posting, I am inspired and deeply moved by the effort taken to make clear what is being corrupted with unacknowledged fear, narcissism and de-humanizing speak. I am an undergrad and struggling to complete my courses this term in part due to a sexual assault last term. The calm waters of this term have made room for some deep heartache. I mention this because, when in pain I feel the world around me that much more. This situation in all of its problems, gives me hope. I have not received such strong justice, and at times believe that I am alone in my search for it. I am First Nations and queer and working toward an academic future. Thank you to those that have shared of themselves in a good way, even to you Dr. Lee. There are so many people like you out in the world, and I believe that your voice comes from a collective of people who represent the deeply ingrained denial of privilege. I personally fear what I will face in my own career in terms of overt and cryptic women hating such as you have displayed. My survival of poverty, racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism have increasingly tuned me into discovering the next step of learning always starts from within, re-discovering what I know and what I wish to learn. No academic is above the life long process of self reflection. I have had my water glass spit in, I have been reprimanded for mis-perceived flirting, and I have been sexually harassed by my employer. These are not the events that keep me up at night. It’s the people in power who believe in their denial enough to guard it that really concern me. You have given gems of insight into professional scapegoating, and I am stronger for it. I am officially raising the standard for appropriate and fair treatment in my academic life because of what I have learned here. Mitakuye Oyasin! It is not just a phrase, it is a whole way of learning to honor community.

  26. Southside Villain April 25, 2011 at 11:39 AM #

    While I cannot gather what was actually said in Lee’s text message, I do concede that his actions were at best intellectually inappropriate.

    I do feel like he has the right to challenge what he feels was unfair criticism. Based on your original letter, he seemed to use gender neutral insults. Would there be the same outrage if he said this to a man? I don’t think he said he’d beat her up. He said he would aggressively challenge her ideas. As an academic, he has the right to do that.

    How should male academics handle female academic ones during intellectual quarrels? Should they curve their behavior and language because they are dealing with the opposite sex. Or, should they attempt to see them as co-equals and operate as they normally would.

    I see little fault in Lee’s response to your letter. He told his side of the story and defended himself. He even mentioned having some regrets. I am more upset that no one contact him before writing this letter. Are there not two sides to every story? As academics, are we not supposed err on the side of objectivity? Shouldn’t we gather as much information as we can on an issue before we reach a conclusion?

    This issue seems rather trivial and personal.

    • Annoyed April 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM #

      Shut up shut up shut up! Why are you commenting when you have not read the review, the response to the review or the facebook posts Lee made? What have you read? Where else have you looked for answers to your “rhetorical” questions? Why are you saying male and female on a feminist website? Why are you saying co-equal? Why are you pretending there’s one standard for academics? Why do you believe in gender-neutral insults? Again, what have you read? Again, why are you commenting?> Again, shut up shut up shut up.

      • Southside Villain April 25, 2011 at 7:33 PM #


        I’ll respectfully answer your questions.

        I have read the review posted on the Feminist Wire website. I also read Dr. Lee’s initial response to this blog post. I have not read his text message, nor his facebook posts. I have not read any of Dr. Lomax’s facebook posts, text messages, etc.

        I have looked no where else for answers to my “rhetorical questions.” I posed the questions here because they were inspired by this particular blog post. I also feel the the blog owners and commentators are intelligent enough offer discussion on them. I am/was looking for discourse.

        I said male/female because those are the words that popped into my brain. Male/female were used a few times in CFC’s letter and a dozen or so more times in the comments section. I don’t understand your issue with these terms in this context.

        I said “co-equal” because Dr. Lee used it a few times in his first response in the comments section. It seemed fitting so I used it.

        I don’t understand how I am pretending that “there’s one standard for academics.”

        Sure, I definitely feel that there are insults that do not reference ones gender or sexuality. There are some that do. I will not list examples from either category here.

        You asked me about my reading history twice. I’ve been a somewhat avid reader since elementary school. That list is pretty long. Right now I’m reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, “Dirty South” by Ben Westhoff, and “Critical Ethnography” by D. Soyini Madison.

        I’m commentating because I have an opinion on the matter.

        I take offense to you telling me to shut up. Like everyone else in this thread, I simply offered my opinion on the issue. I find your aggressive/threatening tone a bit odd considering the actions that triggered this entire debate. I guess I now see how a bit of intellectual discourse can incite combative responses.


  27. me April 26, 2011 at 9:01 AM #

    Why feminists be so angry? No need to worry cause I’m here as a shoulder u can cry on!!! 🙂

  28. facebook friend April 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM #

    I am just really saddened that Shayne can’t seem to step back and listen to what we are saying to him. His facebook posts continue to make digs at folks who want to challenge him (he has declared himself “back to writing about how Black women confront real racism and oppression with dignity and courage”–very subtle, Shayne). He refers in these blog comments to the people who signed this letter as a “lynch mob.” He declares himself the real expert in knowing what Black feminist and anti racist resistance should look like. And my guess is his petulant behavior will be in many ways professionally rewarded. But all of this is par for the course, and Shayne is just another in a long line of men who try to tell Black women what to say, how to say it, and when it’s appropriate to challenge Black men. This incident is about more than Shayne Lee. That’s something I feel comfortable saying he will never understand.

  29. facebook friend April 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM #

    Shayne Lee is now publicly calling this conversation a “minstel show, black buffoonery at its best.” At this point it seems clear that he is all antics, no critical capacity. I just hope he isn’t professionally rewarded for this crap. Ok, I’m done.

  30. Rationality May 1, 2011 at 1:02 PM #

    I tried for a while not to weigh in, hoping that both sides would recognize a concession, a compromise, something. I have read Erotic Revolutionaries, the review, the response, the letter, etc., and essentially, everyone is valid in their opinions, and everyone is guilty of acting inappropriately and in an extremely immature fashion.

    If one has an issue with someone else, bringing it to a public space notorious for misrepresentations and drama is quite possibly the worst solution. That goes for Shayne and Tamara. Shayne, I have more respect for you than most professors at Tulane, and I firmly believe you are a feminist. I also believe you often let your ego determine your actions. Do I think Tamara wrote a flawed review? Yes. But you took the whole thing so personally that you did not even pause to consider the merits of her work (and there are some). You must accept SOME responsibility (and, I agree, publicly, not just on facebook, as that is what got you into this mess). That does not mean you did everything wrong, or that you are entirely to blame.

    As for Tamura and the writers of this letter, you too have erred. Texts were taken out of context, and just as Shayne should not have brought these issues to an extremely public forum such as Facebook, you too responded through a very public, loud blog rather than confronting Shayne privately. In that regard, you are very much the pot calling the kettle black. Shayne was wrong in what he initially said to Tamura, but you have grossly, and I think intentionally, taken his words out of contex.

    Not to say kiss and make up, but you’re middle-aged scholars taking personal swings at each other. I have to agree with Lala; I’m a little embarrassed to call myself a feminist.

    Certainly every party involved has played a significant role in fucking up the situation further. ALL OF YOU: take some responsibility, swallow your pride, and act like adults.

    • Rationality May 1, 2011 at 1:03 PM #

      P.S. Sorry for misspelling Tamura’s name.


  1. Intellectual bullying « Erica Varlese - April 22, 2011

    […] Crunk Feminist Collective recently published an open letter to Shayne Lee in support of Dr. Tamura  Lomax recently who felt bullied and harassed by Shayne Lee, the author […]

  2. Intellectual bullying - April 28, 2011

    […] Crunk Feminist Collective recently published an open letter to Shayne Lee in support of Dr. Tamura Lomax recently who felt bullied and harassed by Shayne Lee, the author of […]

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